Mark Burger, 60, of Gatlinburg is a pretty laid-back guy. He’s so laid back that when the Gatlinburg fires broke out, he wasn’t all that concerned. Burger assumed that if things got serious, he’d receive an evacuation alert via text, so he didn’t even bother to pack a go bag.
Burger’s condo is located at the end of a long, winding road, and he was relaxing at home with his cat, Tiger, on November 28th. Tiger, a Siamese cat, was discovered as an abandoned kitten, and Burger adopted the cat for his son, Tanner.
But Sunday night around 8:00 pm, Tiger got upset. He paced by the door, stood in front of the windows, and was unusually agitated. Tiger repeatedly ran up to Burger, than ran back to the door.
Figuring that an animal might be outside, Burger got up to take out the trash and see if he could spot what was upsetting Tiger. Once outside, Burger discovered that the fire had spread across the mountains around his condo.
Burger quickly packed some clothes, grabbed Tiger, and jumped in his car, fleeing the town. He was able to return on Friday, and was lucky – his condo, and the store that he owns downtown, were both spared. Still, Burger had a close call, one that might have ended differently if Tiger hadn’t been on the alert. Perhaps Tiger was returning the favor from when Burger saved his life as a kitten.